The Flossmoor Road stairs are no more.
A longtime, quirky feature in downtown Flossmoor, the stairs have challenged generations of young bike riders. In recent years, the stairs have been badly out of compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
“This project has been in the works for some time and is sorely needed because of the existing condition of the stairs at that location,” Flossmoor Public Works Director John Brunke said Friday.
The stairs at 2610 Flossmoor Road – three steps and a connecting sidewalk – came down Thursday and will be replaced by a 70-foot ramp bridging the slight topographic decline between that address and Sterling Avenue to the east.
By Friday, construction crews were preparing the south side of Flossmoor Road for new concrete and installation of the ramp, which will be built in sections.
Weather permitting, the concrete work should be completed next week, Brunke said.
“The contractor, J & J Newell Concrete Contractors, started work yesterday and, as you can see, they are making very good progress,” he said.
Once the concrete work is complete, the railings for the ramp will be manufactured and installed. That will be followed by ground restoration. Brunke said he anticipates the entire project will be completed in a month.
Flossmoor Village Board members last month awarded a contract for the ramp construction. Due to a number of factors, the work is costing nearly twice the amount budgeted for the project.
The village budgeted slightly more than $40,000 for the work and the lowest acceptable bid, along with minor additional costs, came in at $76,700. One of the bids was as high as $90,000.
Brunke last month explained reasons for the high project cost, including the rising price of cement – it has gone up 20 percent since last fall.
In addition, Flossmoor had to follow a number of Cook County regulations for the stair project. Flossmoor Road is a county road at that location and the Cook County Highway Department had to sign off on the permit for the work. The county has a high cost for a permit bond.
And the county decided that work can only take place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. since Flossmoor Road has so much traffic during the morning and evening rush hours. As a result, the village must pay the contractor for a full day’s work while only getting six hours of labor from the workers.
The difference between the budgeted amount and actual project cost will come from Flossmoor’s general fund.